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Applies because while it s all well and good to speculate on your own machine and on your own time about what anatomically improbable position Jeff Bezos s head may be in it s vidently not OK on company machines and on company time To make matters worse this was a job I d ncouraged him to pursue I d rather not go into the details the policies and the politics but you ll understand that as a matter of principle I need to bid you all a fond farewell I ve taken a few weeks to consider my swan song my final review on this site The wordplayful part of me was tempted to read the first volume of Proust s classic just so I could use the name Swann but that would run a terrible risk Too many of you have read and fully absorbed the Remembrance series and would no doubt think of me in the nd as the poseur that I am were I to feign any insight Then I looked at a few of the titles I d read but not yet reviewed One of them Disgrace by J M Coetzee had potential given the situation that brought this about but like I said it s best not to talk about that A Ship of Fools is out for the same reason Then one jumped out at me the much discussed Booker Prize winner of 2011 by Julian Barnes The Sense of an Ending The title certainly fitsWhile the story may not be fresh in my mind it s been three years since I read it I do recall a heated internal debate concerning the main character Tony Did he ring true Could I imagine myself in his shoes The book actually fits for another reason too It s all about memories faulty and biased though they may be I m sure in a few years time I ll look back on my GR xperience and remember writing thousands of reviews making millions of comments and stockpiling near infinite good will from it allAs a glib student oblivious to his own clich d thinking Tony once said that history is the lies of the winners A nuanced discussion followed including a uotable line from their brightest most philosophical friend Adrian History is that certainty produced at the point where the imperfections of memory meet the inadeuacies of documentation Later the classroom discussion led to a related point That s one of the central problems of history isn t it sir The uestion of subjective versus objective interpretation the fact that we need to know the history of the historian in order to understand the version that is being put in front of usBarnes was clever I thought to apply this theme to Tony s mature self analysis As a retiree in his sixties once married now divorced father of a daughter he considers close contrary to most vidence and one who has led a rather uotidian life Tony reflects on several key junctures from his youth It s clear he s an unreliable narrator of his own story but readily cops to it and to his credit is disturbed by it What you nd up remembering isn t always the same as what you have witnessed I don t consider it a spoiler to say that one of those memories concerned a girlfriend from his university days Veronica who dumped him and nded up with the aforementioned Adrian Tragedy struck soon after that and the reason Tony is so keen to revisit those memories is that Veronica s mother beueathed him Adrian s diary But Veronica was the one in possession of it and was very reluctant to give it up That s all I ll mention of the conflict but as you may well have guessed there s plenty beneath the surfaceWhen I first considered this book for my final review it hadn t occurred to me that there d be so many ways to tie it to my own reflections Please indulge me one last time as I take ven uotes from this book and relate them to my years on GoodreadsThe retired and resigned version of Tony near the nd of the book had this to say as the witnesses to your life diminish there is less corroboration and therefore less certainty as to what you are or have been Even if you have assiduously kept records in words sound pictures you may find that you have attended to the wrong kind of record keeping When he mentioned those assiduously kept records specially the pictures I thought of Facebook The right kind of record keeping to me would be the thoughts and reactions on Goodreads Those reflect something meaningful and say about what makes you you Even so as the memories of those who participated with you fade so does your presence At least I m keeping my account active so that I don t disappear altogetherGetting back to the topic of UNRELIABILITY OLDER TONY SAID PERHAPS IT S THAT SAME older Tony said perhaps it s that same again the history that happens underneath our noses ought to be the clearest and yet it s the most deliuescent Like I said it was a few years ago that I read This So My Own so my own should be uestioned I guess that means anything I say beyond this point is meta unreliable Be that as it may I think it s true that subjectivity the lives we make for ourselves that read like literature and ven outright lies often make our accounts interestingAs one last indulgence I swear I m linking past reviews that I feel speak to that last statement rather well From 2015From 2014From 2013From 2008I had considered giving this book The Summer Palace: A Captive Prince Short Story (Captive Prince Short Stories Book 2) either five stars or one since those are the reviews that often contain the most passionate arguments and attract the most curious readers But that isn t my true sentiment Let s assume that the truth is at least slightly important to me This one is a solid 35 rounded to 4 Tony was a little frustrating at times for his unreliable Tony centric views but I did like the theme Besides that Barnes guy writes really wellBefore I sign off I want toxtend a big THANK YOU to you all for making these years on Goodreads so rewarding I ve njoyed the countless insights contained in your reviews the ntertainment value the recommendations the overly generous comments and the nonstop thinking and fun I can only hope that our collective memories never fool us into thinking that our time together has been anything but great Such was the big fat craptastic big reveal groanworthy lurid pulpy Victorian melodramatic you got to be kidding Campfire ending with no sense that the two stars this novel was hanging on to by its fingernails up to page 130 slipped out of its grasp and itnded up with the ignominious one star but since that puts it in the same company as many much loved novels it may well be worn as a Badge Of Honour I nvisage one of those peelable stickers on all future ditions A P BRYANT ONE STAR NOVEL and Julian Barnes can swank around with Zadie Smith Richard Ford and Don DeLillo and read Hurrah For The Blackshirts!: Fascists and Fascism in Britain Between the Wars each other their own one star reviews It s one thing to realise that as a person with a fiction addiction you must tread a lonely path because in Real Life as you may know not that many people are as hopelessly addicted as we here on Goodreads But then it s another thing to have to admit that within that already small but intense intense community of readers you are now part of a minority since the majority appear to be besotted with YAadult romancefantasytc So mainstream literature is now a minority sport like lacrosse or curling and should be rebranded but then ven stranger should be rebranded But then ven stranger find oneself as the minority of the minority of the minority Which happens when the majority of the minority are all raving about a novel that turns out to be The Sense of an EndingIn Flaubert s Parrot by JB a guy moons around in France on his own and has thoughts about his life and about Flaubert and you gradually realise that he s suppressing some horrible thing he doesn t want to think about The atmosphere in that novel is transfixing it s maximum understated comedy horror Top novel This one 150 pages of picking over an old friendship and a first romance the banal Crazy Love entanglements of which come to a vague watery light when the deceased mother of the ancient girlfriend it was all 40 years ago beueaths to our boring narrator a diary Like a bolt from the blue This was a novel where all the detail of the guy s current mildly depressed defeated mouldering away English life werexactly and toe curlingly right and all the actual incidents in the plot of which there are five I think maybe five and a half. Ian Barnes's oeuvre  This intense novel follows Tony Webster a middle aged man as he contends with a past he never thought much about until his closest childhood friends return with a vengeance one of them from the grave another maddeningly present Tony thought he left this all behind as he buil. I had never really intended to read this book and I certainly had no intention of owning it I was browsing in a BN sitting out a winter storm in Lincoln Nebraska and ran across of stack of The Sense of an Ending with BOOKER PRIZE WINNER blazoned across the front of the book I dug through the stack of third printings and there near the bottom was one book with BOOKER PRIZE NOMINEE on the cover Well it is sort of cosmic for a collector such as I to find one first American dition in the pile Small chance of the book ver being a collectible but it is almost impossible mental hindrances for me to buy a later printing of a book Being 20% off helped me throw it on my pile for the check out counter Well about 20 pages in I was shaking my head and muttering to myself about the 20 bill I lit on fire to buy this book What Barnes wrote about English Prep school was stale as stale as a saltine cracker I found in the glove box of my pickup The mystery is I don t remember ver ating saltines in my pickup Luckily Barnes moved on to interesting material Tony Webster is a guy of average intelligence who was arguably the least interesting member of a group of rather bright friends In particular one friend Adrian was head and shoulders above the rest with a true philosopher s mind that arned him a spot at Cambridge Tom was always trying to understand Adrian and always felt as if he was not seeing the picture the same way as his friend Adrian had a better mind and a rigorous temperament than me he thought logically and then acted on the conclusion of logical thought Whereas most of us I suspect do the opposite we make an instinctive decision then build up an infrastructure of reasoning to justify it And call the result common senseAt prep school Adrian was the star impressing his teachers with lines like this History is that certainty produced at the point where the imperfections of memory meet the inadeuacies of documentation No big surprise that Tony spends the rest of his life seeking Adrian s approval Their relationship becomes rocky when Tony s x girlfriend Veronica starts dating Adrian Veronica s favorite line to Tony is you didn t get it then you don t get it now and you will never get it She is one of those people that think Black Heart, Red Ruby everyone is supposed to understand what is in her head and refuses to giveven the most minuscule bit of information to help Tony know what is motivating her decisions Even though she is incessantly disrespectful to Tony he sees her as intelligent hip than he is and is always attempting to better himself in her yes Reading a fragment of Adrian s diary 40 years after he killed himself Tony now in his sixties still finds himself in need of validation Had my life increased or merely added to itself This was the uestion that Adrian s fragment set off in me There had been addition and subtraction in my life but how much was multiplication and this gave me a sense of unease of unrestI won t discuss the hook of the story the SHAZAM moment where verything becomes clear but I must say my New Plant Parent: Learn the Ways of Plant Parenthood estimation of the book changed as the story moved forward At only 163 pages I felt that thearly pages spent at the prep school could have been skipped and made the story closer to flawless A few flash backs would have sufficed to give the reader the background necessary to follow the plot I will close with one bit of introspection from Tony Someone once said that his favorite times in history were when things were collapsing because that meant something new was being born Does this make any sense if we apply it to our individual lives To die when something new is being born Dreaming Me: An African-American Woman's Buddhist Journey even if that something new is our very own self Because just as all political and historical change sooner or later disappoints so does adulthood So does life Sometimes I think the purpose of life is to reconcile us to itsventual loss by wearing us down by proving however long it takes that life isn t all it s cracked up to be 45 Update There is going to be a movie after the book and it is coming out this month if interested you can see the trailer here story about the unreliability of memory and how we can chose to forget or to reinvent the past in order not to remember disturbing truths I discovered this book by Julian Barnes when reading comments about Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan which is a book I also njoyed The tone of the story is uite similar in some ways Barnes McEwan and Coetzee have a way with words that I find brilliant They use simple prose but with such a punch I am not fully satisfied about how the author finished the book and left some of the vents author finished the book and left some of the ЯED events Maybe that was the intention but I would have liked to understand a little bit better the reason behind some of Veronica s behavior I think my years as a philosophy student were actually detrimental to mynjoyment of this short novel about life and memory The stuff that has left other people reeling in amazement reminded me of little than just another ssay on the mind and the way we think the way we interpret vents and the way our memories can let us down Mr Barnes is clearly a clever man and his writing is a touch complex but always charming However is this really that original anyI don t think so I can point you towards many The Lost Art of Reading Natures Signs even young adult books withually unreliable narrators that are much ngaging gripping and altogether rewarding ven if they do lack the complexity of the mind delving going on in The Sense of an Ending And though Barnes thoroughly Monsieur Pain explores the mind of Tony Webster I found him to be a painfully bland and unexciting protagonist that no amount of philosophical thought could saveThis is a book that will suit people who like to think aboutverything It is or less the story of a very average man who pulls apart and analyses his memory of school first love first sexual A Spark of Light: the fearless new novel from the Number One bestselling author encounters his marriageverything about his life I thought I was the kind of person who likes to uestion things in an unbelievably anal way For What If example the other night I had the most pointless and stupid discussion with my dad about knowledge where he said that he knew there were blind people in Spain don t ask just don t ask and I said he couldn t possibly know that for certain unless he d gone to Spain and met a blind person He said he could Then I said he couldn t As you can tell it was a very productivevening But my point is that I The Exhaustion Breakthrough enjoy philosophyTony Webster however philosophises about his whole life a life that just isn t interestingnough for me to care about the reasons behind its The Exhaustion Breakthrough: Unmask the Hidden Reasons You're Tired and Beat Fatigue for Good events I like in theory the idea thatverything isn t always as simple as it seems that things run deeper that people have hidden and uestionable motivations for the things they do and say and that memory is not the truth but the story we tell ourselves The idea of this book I like And some people love the simplistic side of it the analysis of real and Supplemental Book everyday life rather than using philosophy to look at murder or somethingually dramatic But I don t believe that Tony s story was Hark! The Herald Angels Scream excitingnough to want to uestion I actually don t care why Adrian did what he did or why Veronica s mother behaved in a certain way Perhaps my biggest problem with this book is that I don t care about TonyWhy would I want to hurt my brain straining to think about something that doesn t interest me Some people obviously saw something much deeper in this perhaps a message about society as a whole that says something important about our current world perhaps not I PERSONALLY SAW IT AS A personally saw it as a attempt to turn the mediocre into something poetic But it was too nicely written to be one star Some of my closest GR friends may have noticed that I ve been less active around here lately Unfortunately there s a reason for that It s nothing dire but it s still sad for me to have to say As it turns out I m going to have to hang up my spurs albeit for reasons that have nothing to do with my friends here and not Colloquial Polish: The Complete Course for Beginners even much to do with me It has to do with my niece s husband who until recently had been a web application developer at Goodreads The past perfect tense. Winner of the 2011 Man Booker PrizeOne of The Atlantic's Best Books I Read This YearA novel so compelling that it begs to be read in a single setting The Sense of an Ending has the psychological andmotional depth and sophistication of Henry James at his best and is a stunning new chapter in Jul. .


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Are completely wrong simply ridiculous no one would do that The girlfriend would not redacted the mother would totally not redacted and if the friend really did redacted then the narrator redacted This is why a novel can be both intelligent he drops in a sprinkling of Readers Digest Improve Your Conversation by uoting Philosophy snippets and he s forever going on about Time what is Time can we control Time or does Time control Us can Time go backwards or sidewards can Time flow up one nostril and down the Other and also stupid people don t behave like this This was a Booker prize winner but it was one of the Bad Bookers like Vernon God Little There are Good Bookers like Wolf Hall and The White Tiger Read the good Bookers avoid the Bad Ke This is an xploration of memory xuisitely written as the thoughts of an old man looking back on his life good Bidadari yang Mengembara enough to merit 5 despite the somewhat contrivednding ironic given the titleImageryIt opens with six watery images an unexpected word in several of them makes them vivid ach of which form part of the story I remember in no particular order a shiny inner wrist steam rising from a wet sink as a frying pan is laughingly tossed into it gouts of sperm circling a plughole before being sluiced down the full length of a tall house a river rushing nonsensically upstream its wave and wash lit by half a dozen chasing torch beams another river broad and grey the direction of its flow disguised by a stiff wind xciting the surface bath water long gone cold behind a locked door PlotTony and his three friends were somewhat pretentious teenagers from moderately privileged backgrounds one of those suburbs which has stopped concreting over nature at the very last minute and Definitely has a plot but a pathetic one Thin characters cliched ideas I feel annoyed by having read this book OK there was one good uote Sometimes I think the purpose of life is to reconcile us to its La strada delle croci eventual loss by wearing us down by proving however long it takes that life isn t all it s cracked up to be But ultimately the plot is a gimmick I don t understand how this won the Booker Prize What the heck did Tonyver do to anyone xcept send a crappy letter to an x girlfriend who was now going out with one of his best friends Who HASN T done thatAnd why the money from The Mother Doesn t make any sense Nor does younger Adrian s fear of Tony when he mentions being friends with Mary And why the heck didn t The Mother leave her money to her son who needed the money rather than sending him off to live in some group home once she diedI ve been reading too many books lately I need to start watching television When Veronika said You don t get it You never did I told myself so why don t you tell him Grrr If only these people Barnes characters would sit down and discuss amongst themselves then there will be no problem Then Tony Webster will not have to spend all his life trying to grapple the memories he thought to be contained in his whole pathetic life You see Tony Webster is a double sided man he seems to be this gentle go with the flow nice man who respects his girlfriend not to have real sex until they are ready However when his girlfriend dumps him for Tony Webster s friend he writes the bitterest letter that I ve read coming from a dumped lover The kind of letter that would put to shame The Ballad of Dorothy Wordsworth even the vilest and the most manipulating characters of Pierre Choderlos de Laclos in his masterpiece Les Liaisons DangereusesBut that slow tease makes the reading very interesting and fun The book is thin and the letters are big Don t be deceived though The brevity does not reflect the jam packed plot and the intricate thoughts that go on inside the mind of Tony Webster You see the story is a book narrated in the first person and Tony Webster is what they call in literature film or theatre as unreliable narrator Barnes deceives the reader into believing that the character of Tony Webster in the first part of the story will be consistent Until the revelation in the second part but I did not feel disgustingly deceived I was amused surprised but definitely bewildered by the brilliancy on how Barnes putverything intricately together The prose is crisp clear and concise Definitely British but it is not stiff and rigid This is my first Barnes and I used to think before that his prose would be a challenge to njoy Definitely not it is very readable and asy to comprehend Pretty Reckless (All Saints High, even for an Asian like me The prose plot thethe characters the seuence of thevents the thoughts that run in Tony Webster s mind big revelation in the nd They are all part of the big beautiful nsemble that delivers an The West Transformed exceptionally nice written novella Ah oh the theme It is something that I can truly relate to a middle age retired man who tried to live a peaceful ordinary British life With a grown up daughter and anx wife who he still maintains as a friend he now lives alone with only the memoirs of how he thought his life went through as a young man I think that this looking back to the what ifs is one of the favorite pastimes of middle age people during their spare uite time And I am beginning to imbibe this hobby as I am approaching retirement ha haYou will pick this book if 1 You make sure that you read all the Man Booker winning books 2 You are a fan of Julian Barnes or 3 You believe in my rating and you like this reviewYou will like this book if 1 You pretend to like or actually like less populist contemporary books 2 You like all works of Julian Barnes and you hate to have an xception and 3 You are an old or middle age man and you are fond of thinking of your what ifsUndoubtedly one of the best books I ve read this year May the Good Lord bless you with years so you can write beautiful novels Mr Barnes This is by Julian Barnes so we know it will focus on memory and its tricks Some xamples but what you nd up remembering isn t always the same as what you witnessed And I need to return briefly to a few incidents that have grown into anecdotes to some approximate memories which time has deformed into certainty And again I must stress that this is my reading now of what happened then Or rather my memory now of my reading then of what was happening at the time The book is a Booker Prize winner so we xpect and we get great writing In those days we imagined ourselves as being kept in some kind of holding pen waiting to be released into our lives There s not a lot of POINT IN ADDING AN EXTENSIVE REVIEW in adding an xtensive review book with 12000 already on GR although it s interesting to note that its rating 37 is a bit on the low side Barnes seems to be a writer that you like or you don tThe basic story is that we have a man of retirement age who is a doofus He has a couple of adult children he s never shown much interest in and an x that he meets with for an occasional lunch The story goes back to his college days and The Complete Polly and the Wolf early romances when he broke up with one girl who dumped him for another buddy in his group view spoiler He wrote the two of them a nasty vicious letter and promptly forgot about it That letter turns up 40 years later in a package from a lawyer and he is shocked to see it He is incredulous that he could have written it memory again but there it is in black and white in his handwriting hide spoiler Just brilliant The book at first appears right to thend to be a rather mundane story of the life of an ordinary man who is neither perceptive about the people around him nor does he see himself in a clear light Only at the nd is it apparent that there were two different stories being written at the same time and you can perceive all the clues to the second story only in hindsight although they were so clear you wonder how you could have missed them You wonder how the protagonist could have misinterpreted forgotten and ignored them "as well Or did he Maybe it was just in reflection he "well Or did he Maybe it was just in reflection he put all the pieces togetherThis is genius writing This was two ways of reading a story one written to be read in the usual way forwards and the other backwards with hindsight This is why Barnes won the Booker Priz. T a life for himself and his career has provided him with a secure retirement and an amicable relationship with his x wife and daughter who now has a family of her own But when he is presented with a mysterious legacy he is forced to revise his stimation of his own nature and place in the world. The Sense of an Ending